Like many successful businessmen, Kentaro Iemoto from Japan has come up against many obstacles in his journey to creating one of the biggest Internet host providers in Asia, however it was his unbelievable resilience in the face of adversity that makes his story so special.
When Kentaro was 11 years old he was diagnosed with a brain tumour, which resigned him to his bed for the majority of his teenage years. Things went from bad to worse when he was 15 years old, when he underwent surgery in 1996 and a medical mistake left him paralysed from the waist down.
I think you’d agree that his road to recovery and entrepreneurial greatness is all the more remarkable given this dreadful turn of events.
During Kentaro’s long spell in hospitals he read the business sections of newspapers and became increasingly drawn to the world of opportunities that the Internet offers a disabled person, “Living in a wheelchair, I realised how difficult and inconvenient it is to communicate with others. I want to utilise the internet to create a society where disabled people can get information just as easily as able-bodied persons”. With this in mind Kentaro founded a rental server company called Clara Online with just $9,000 in start-up capital.
However, it was a truly miraculous turn of events that effectively starved off the threat of bankruptcy in 2001, when he began to regain movement in his feet and legs.
This provided to be the spark of life that reinvigorated his failing business and by 24 he was no longer disabled and was managing six data centres in Tokyo, Nagoya, Osaka and Seoul from his central offices in Japan and Taiwan.
To this day he is pushing Clara online to become Asia’s largest service provider and who would bet against him doing so when taking into account all the other challenges that life has thrown at him.
Written by Henry Colburn